Coronavirus digest: FIFA′s Gianni Infantino tests positive for COVID-19 | News | DW | 27.10.2020
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Coronavirus digest: FIFA's Gianni Infantino tests positive for COVID-19

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is going into isolation after testing positive for the virus. His symptoms are said to be mild. Meanwhile, European countries are battling a spike in cases. Follow DW for the latest.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has contracted COVID-19, football's global governing body said on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old Swiss national is experiencing mild symptoms and will self-isolate for at least the next 10 days, FIFA said in a statement. Those who have come in contact with Infantino over the past few days had been informed about the situation so they could "take the necessary steps."

Although Infantino has limited his travel due to the pandemic, he did attend a ceremony at the White House in Washington last month to mark the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

His case comes amid a surge in cases in Switzerland and other areas of Europe. Switzerland announced a further 5,949 cases on Tuesday, and it's logged around one fifth of its total number of known cases just in the last week.

Here's a roundup of major developments around the world:

Africa

In Algeria, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was admitted to a military hospital on Tuesday, several days after he went into voluntary self-isolation when aides close to him tested positive for COVID-19. Tebboune's office says the 74-year-old's "health is stable and does not raise any concern," saying he "continues his daily activities," days before an important national referendum on constitutional reforms. Algeria (population 44 million) has recorded almost 57,000 coronavirus infections and more than 1,930 deaths. 

Europe

In Germany, the number of confirmed coronavirus infections increased by 11,409 to 449,275, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by 42 to 10,098, the tally showed.

In the UK, antibodies against the novel coronavirus fell over the summer, according to new research released on Tuesday.

Scientists at the Imperial College London found that antibody prevalence fell from 6% of the population at the end of June to 4.4% in September, suggesting immunity might not be enduring.

Watch video 01:45

Am I immune to COVID-19?

The findings were released as a pre-print paper and have not yet been peer-reviewed.

Those who were asymptomatic had a stronger decline in antibodies as compared to healthcare workers and those whose infection was confirmed with a PCR test.

Wendy Barclay, Head of Department of Infectious Disease at the college, said the decrease in antibodies did not necessarily have implications for the efficacy of a potential vaccine.

"A good vaccine may well be better than natural immunity," said Barclay.

Americas

In the US, Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred said clubs had amassed $8.3 billion (€7 billion) in debt due to the effects of the coronavirus.

"The economic losses (this season) have been devastating for the industry," said Manfred.

The 2020 MLB regular season was slashed from 162 games to just 60 due to the virus, with no fans in attendance at any of those games. Attendees have only been allowed back into ballparks in limited numbers for the National League Championship Series and the ongoing World Series championship between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays.

Manfred was concerned about the future of the league, saying "it's going to be difficult for the industry to weather another year where we don't have fans in the ballpark and have other limitations on how much we can't play and how we can play."

Oceania

Melbourne, which was considered the epicenter of Australia's second wave of the pandemic, has seen two straight days without a new case.

This is the first time the city has recorded no new cases in 48 hours since March. The city had been under intense lockdown restrictions in recent weeks, including an overnight curfew, stay-at-home orders, and the closure of non-essential businesses.

There were more than 700 daily cases in the state of Victoria in August. There are now just 87 active cases in the entire state.

Some restrictions were lifted, including allowing restaurants and retail stores to re-open. But gyms and travel restrictions between the city and regional parts of the state will not be lifted until next month.

Watch video 02:07

Six-week lockdown imposed on Australia's Melbourne

World

Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15% of the more than 1 million worldwide deaths to COVID-19. That is according to research recently published in the journal Cardiovascular Research.

The research, conducted by German and Cypriot experts, looked at health and disease data in the US and China regarding air pollution. The experts combined it with satellite data of global exposure to microscopic particles and ground-based pollution.

In East Asia the authors said that 27% of COVID-19 related deaths could be attributed to poor air quality. That number was 19% in Europe and 17% in North America.

The authors of the article stressed it did not mean that air pollution was itself contributing directly to the deaths but could be a co-factor.

rs, kbd/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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